Kansas City attorney announces independent Senate bid

ST. LOUIS (AP)   Kansas City attorney Craig O'Dear has entered the race for U.S. Senate as an independent in a bid to unseat incumbent Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill.

O'Dear launched his campaign Thursday with a news conference in Kansas City, criticizing both Democrats and Republicans for producing "division and gridlock."

O'Dear is 60. He has been active in fundraising for candidates in both parties but has never previously run for political office.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley is considered the front-runner for the Republican nomination. The race is considered crucial for the Democrats if they want to have a chance to gain control of the Senate.

Missouri was once considered a swing state, but has moved decidedly Republican in recent years. McCaskill and Auditor Nicole Galloway are the only Democrats in statewide office.

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